Monaco FR3.5: McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne leads practice

McLaren junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne topped Formula Renault 3.5 free practice in Monaco on Thursday

Monaco FR3.5: McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne leads practice

The Fortec driver - racing in Monaco for the first time - was one of several rookies to shine in the session before putting in a decisive lap with seven minutes remaining to go fastest.

Vandoorne was then involved in a scary incident that brought the session to a premature end with around two minutes remaining.

Mathias Laine started the chain of events when he crashed at Sainte Devote. As marshals got to his car, Zoel Amberg narrowly avoided running into the back of Laine, coming to a stop just behind the Finn.

As the rest of the cars slowly made their way past the incident, Vandoorne then spun on his own at the same corner, and his car clattered into Amberg's.

Fortunately, none of the cars involved collected the marshals, who were trying to attach Laine's car to a crane to get it removed.

Pre-season title favourite Antonio Felix da Costa spent several spells at the top of the times, and he ended the session second ahead of rookie Norman Nato.

Next up was another newcomer, as Red Bull junior and GP3 racer Carlos Sainz Jr was a surprise frontrunner throughout the session on his way to fourth place.

The Spaniard, making a one-off appearance in FR3.5 for Zeta Corse to learn the Monaco track, even went quickest for a while in the early stages.

Behind him, the top six was completed by former champion Mikhail Aleshin and current points leader Kevin Magnussen.

Pos Driver               Team              Time      Gap       Laps
 1. Stoffel Vandoorne    Fortec            1m24.711            24
 2. Antonio F. da Costa  Arden Caterham    1m24.821  + 0.110s  25
 3. Norman Nato          DAMS              1m24.973  + 0.262s  24
 4. Carlos Sainz Jr      Zeta Corse        1m24.975  + 0.264s  24
 5. Mikhail Aleshin      Tech 1            1m24.984  + 0.273s  22
 6. Kevin Magnussen      DAMS              1m25.060  + 0.349s  23
 7. Jazeman Jaafar       Carlin            1m25.066  + 0.355s  24
 8. Nick Yelloly         Zeta Corse        1m25.292  + 0.581s  23
 9. Marco Sorensen       Lotus             1m25.321  + 0.610s  23
10. Nigel Melker         Tech 1            1m25.603  + 0.892s  23
11. Carlos Huertas       Carlin            1m25.859  + 1.148s  22
12. Nico Muller          Draco             1m26.016  + 1.305s  23
13. Zoel Amberg          Pons              1m26.107  + 1.396s  21
14. Christopher Zanella  ISR               1m26.255  + 1.544s  25
15. Arthur Pic           AV Formula        1m26.260  + 1.549s  24
16. M.Stockinger         Lotus             1m26.263  + 1.552s  23
17. Will Stevens         P1                1m26.388  + 1.677s  24
18. Daniil Move          Comtec            1m26.391  + 1.680s  23
19. N.Martsenko          Pons              1m26.419  + 1.708s  24
20. Matias Laine         P1                1m26.647  + 1.936s  22
21. Andre Negrao         Draco             1m26.700  + 1.989s  22
22. Oliver Webb          Fortec            1m26.744  + 2.033s  25
23. Sergey Sirotkin      ISR               1m26.970  + 2.259s  23
24. Yann Cunha           AV Formula        1m27.192  + 2.481s  25
25. Lucas Foresti        Comtec            1m27.875  + 3.164s  22
26. Pietro Fantin        Arden Caterham    1m28.292  + 3.581s  23

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